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A Sour Cream Pear Cake That Proves More Isn't Always More

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It seems an assumption of modern life that more is more, especially when it comes to dessert. There’s a reason bakeries line their pastry windows with custard-filled tarts topped with rows of glistening fruit and multi-tiered cakes with intricate frosting designs. They know what sells.

There’s even a restaurant in New York City that garnishes your milkshake with an entire slice of cake.

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Don’t get me wrong: I like a little decadence. But I also love coming across a recipe that reminds me how sophisticated simplicity can be.

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Sour Cream Cardamom Pear Cake
Sour Cream Cardamom Pear Cake

This particular cake illustrates the benefits of a little restraint. It’s not too sweet nor too showy. A stunning design of sliced pears fans across the surface, making the cake perfectly worthy of bringing to a dinner party or serving at a sit-down brunch.

Sour Cream Cardamom Pear Cake
Sour Cream Cardamom Pear Cake Photo by Posie Harwood

Sour cream and butter give it a moist texture, but the crumb remains quite delicate. Be sure not to over-bake it: A cake this simple can dry out easily.

I’ve added ground cardamom to the batter, because I love the flavors of cardamom and pear together. You can easily swap it for cinnamon if you aren’t a big cardamom fan.

Photo by Posie Harwood

Don’t slice your pears too thinly. Aim for around 1/4-inch thickness. The way that the fruit softens is one of the best parts of this cake: Where the batter cradles the fruit, you get a thin custard-like layer, reminiscent of clafoutis.

I can’t tell you how long this cake will keep because we ate in all in one day! But that should be recommendation enough for you, don’t you agree?

5ca330f7 3a7b 4f7a 88c7 3a5130538337  pearcake

Sour Cream Cardamom Pear Cake

1e4d7b52 fd4f 4798 ae19 d0f715768358  ry 400 Posie Harwood

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Makes one 9-inch cake
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 medium pears
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Tags: cake